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Flower Mound stops FM Marcus in wild thriller

DALLAS -- Flower Mound coach Cody Vanderford must have sent quarterback Paul Millard to the state fair this week, because the quarterback was hitting receivers left and right Friday like target practice on the midway.

Millard led Flower Mound past No. 5 Flower Mound Marcus, 52-49, at SMU's Gerald J. Ford Stadium in a game that was a battle between the heavy pass of the Jaguars and heavy run of the Marauders.

Millard went 28-of-35 for 478 yards, 271 in the first half when he was 17-of-22 and the Jaguars opened a 30-22 lead. Millard split up his five touchdown passes among four different receivers.

Marcus countered with 422 rushing yards, split up between running backs Dagan Newsome and Rufus Mason and quarterback Deion Sanders Jr. Sanders Jr. added 120 passing yards to the Marauder offense, bringing their total yardage to 542.

In the first half, Flower Mound (3-2, 1-1 in District 8-5A) scored on every possession. Marcus (4-1, 1-1) had to punt one time and also turned the ball over on downs after being stopped on a fourth-down attempt.

Marcus came out in the second half and showed that even though Flower Mound could score quickly, the Marauders could move the ball on the ground with their variety of sweeps and counter plays.

At one point in the game, it appeared that Marcus was about to turn the tables on Flower Mound when a three-and-out resulted in a 7-yard punt and short field for the Marauders. Marcus would score, but Flower Mound would have the last word when it came to changes on the scoreboard.

With a third-and-long from the Flower Mound 43, Millard completed a 32-yard pass to Josh Brake, who leaped over two Marcus defensive backs to bring in the catch. Flower Mound then surprised the Marcus defense with a 22-yard draw for a touchdown, the final score of the game.

Marcus had one more chance to retake the lead, but a slight change in their offense may have cost them their chance to either win it or tie the score with a last-second field goal.

After a fourth-down encroachment call against Flower Mound produced a first down, Marcus ran the ball one time for a yard and then followed up with three straight incompletions.

On the final drive, three of Marcus' third-down conversions came on passing plays, but for the final part of the drive Marcus coach Bryan Erwin chose to throw three straight fade routes to the same receiver on the same side of the field. All three were batted away by the defense, and time ran out on Marcus for the first time this season.

Flower Mound snapped a two-game skid after losses to Arlington Martin and Hebron. The Jaguars have scored 266 points in five games (53.2 per game) but will be challenged by a tough Plano defense next week. Marcus meets up with Plano West.